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Appeals Court: Same-sex Couples may Divorce in Florida

After same-sex marriage became legal in Florida on January 6, 2015, it seemed to many to be only natural that same-sex couples would also have the right to dissolve their marriages in Florida, as well. However, the ability to grant a same-sex divorce was still up in the air on the trial court level, stemming from a case that was regularly in the news throughout last year.

In that case, Danielle Brandon-Thomas was trying to get a divorce from a marriage granted in Massachusetts and her wife Krista was trying to block the divorce. Though Krista wanted to stop the divorce for child custody reasons, she used the argument that because Florida law did not recognize gay marriage, it should not dissolve a gay marriage either. Attorney General Pam Bondi stepped in and argued for Krista, and the trial court denied the divorce request.

Now, however, the state appellate court has issued its decision that overturns the trial court decision for several reasons. Some of the reasons are as follows:

  • Married couples in Florida–same-sex or not–deserve equal access to the courts to dissolve their marriages as opposite-sex couples.
  • The spouses had many different complicated issues regarding intertwined financial affairs and custody questions regarding their daughter that needed to be settled for the best interest of the child.
  • The court found that there was no legitimate reason offered for Florida to refuse to give full faith and credit to a marriage validly entered into in another state by Bondi or Krista Brandon-Thomas.

Though Danielle Brandon-Thomas was thrilled with the appellate decision allowing her to get divorced, the couple must now face all of the many issues that any other divorcing couple must face, including custody, visitation, parenting plans, child support, spousal support, division of assets, and more. They will face all of the same legal questions and procedures that any other couple may face when they seek a divorce in Florida.

Though the couple’s divorce is far from settled, the case does represent overcoming the major hurdle to same-sex divorce in the state of Florida for couples married within or outside the state. With the increasing amount of same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses in Florida, it only makes sense that more couples may have to seek divorce in the coming years, so it is a positive step that the issue of same-sex divorce has been somewhat clarified.

Experienced Boca Raton family law attorney Alan R. Burton can help with your case

Whether you are part of a same-sex or opposite sex couple, it is highly important that you have the assistance of a skilled and committed Florida family law attorney if you are considering divorce. Divorce cases have many important issues that need to be settled and you should always have a lawyer who is familiar with the ever-changing laws in Florida guiding you through the process. Please do not hesitate to call the law office of divorce lawyer Alan R. Burton to find out how we can help you today.